According to Friedrich Hayek, conformity to the rule of law guarantees the existence of a free society, that is of a society governed by law and not by men. The aim of this paper is first to clarify the interpretation of the rule of law that is likely to sustain such a claim and second, to determine how far such an interpretation could allow for the criteria –specially the economic criteria — used by Hayek himself to ascertain the acceptability of laws. My conclusion is that the use of some of these criteria does conflict with a systematic conception of law and that far from confirming the determinant role of the rule of law, it rather allows for the arbitrariness of those who make laws.
Abstract This article argues for the existence of an original analysis of Lemercier de la Rivière’s concept of legal despotism unheralded by commentators. Quesnay, leader of the physiocrats, is usually acknowledged as the main source but the literature systematically refers to Lemercier de la Rivière’s writings. Lemercier de la Rivière’s main text, L’Ordre naturel et essentiel … Continue reading The Optimum Government of the Physiocrats: Legal Despotism or Legitimate Despotism?